Monday night was hard. It was Lyndsay's last night here in our home, before everything changed. Many of her friends came by to see her, give her sweet gifts (like a beautiful scrapbook filled with pictures of memories they've had together), chat, laugh, cry. I was up in my bedroom packing, and finishing Lyndsay's journal. See, the day I found out that I was pregnant with Lyndsay, I bought a little hardbound journal and I wrote an entry in it. Before I knew if she would be a boy or a girl, or what her name would be. Throughout the pregnancy I wrote, then her birth, then her babyhood, toddlerhood, childhood, etc. My feelings for her, cute things she said or did, milestones and achievements. Of course, as more children arrived (whom I also keep journals for, which all began on the day I discovered the pregnancy), the entries become more sparse, but the plan was always that when she left for college, I would give it to her. Up until then, it's always been in my possession. There were enough pages left for one final entry, and on Monday night I sat on my bed in tears and wrote that final entry. When her friends had gone home, she came into my room to hug me and I burst into tears in her arms.
"Do you think," I said, "that if we don't go to sleep, that morning will never come?" She was game to give it a try. The sweetness of that embrace, and the many others that would follow it over the next several days will forever be imprinted in my memory. My grown up girl. We've been through so much together. I handed her the journal. "My baby journal?" she said, and she began to cry. "Yep, it's all finished," I said. "Please, please don't lose it." It was so hard to turn it over to her. Her whole life, from my perspective as her mother was written in those 160 pages. I'd re-read it that night, remembering her growth and fun memories. She's always astonished me, and I could see how blessed she's been and how all things have led her to this moment in time, right now. She was so grateful, and very emotional in receiving it. I hope she will read it, at moments when she is alone, when she is missing her former life, her mom. She will be able to read my love for her, my testimony, my blessing for her. She will laugh at funny things she may or may not remember. She will feel not so alone. She will know how tremendously loved and treasured she is.
When I went to my bedroom, I turned and saw her through her bedroom door, sitting on her bed with her laptop. I wanted to memorize the sight of her, there in her room, on her bed, as a thousand times before. She looked up at me and we just locked eyes. And then I went to her and hugged her some more. "Go to bed, Momma," she said, "You need to sleep. I love you so, so much."
I love that she calls me 'Momma'. Sometimes 'Mommy', but usually, 'Momma.'
I couldn't even cry about the boys' first day of school in the morning. That emotion barely registered on my radar, as it usually does. We met in the living room for a final family scripture study. We talked about King Benjamin's promise that if we kept the commandments of God, we would prosper. We talked about what prospering means, and how each of us can prosper in different ways in different times in our lives. I told them I knew that promise was real and true, and how I want for each of them to prosper. We prayed together.
Then it was time for Aiden to leave for school. His goodbye to his sister was heartbreaking. Those two are so close and have spent so much time together. He is going to seriously miss her, and she him. He tried to be tough, but I couldn't even get a First Day of School picture of him because his face was too red and teary-eyed. I hate it when my kids have heartache. I wish we never had to say goodbye to each other.
Conor had his moment with Lyns as well. He gave her lots of love, and she gave him some sisterly advice. Poor Conor always has to say goodbye to his siblings, and he's so young, I hope he has memories of what it's like living with them at home. I know my younger siblings don't really remember me being at home. That's so sad. He adores Lyndsay.
But then he was off, to his first day of First grade. I walked him to school. His teacher is a good friend of ours from church, and the mother of one of Lyndsay's best friends, so he was very comfortable going to school this time. Not at all like last year. Thank goodness.
His good friend, Irwin, is in his class too.
His teacher let the parents come to the classroom and help the students find their desks. Here is Conor sitting at his new desk.
Then, I walked back home to do the hard part.
Lyndsay was all packed up, lying on her bed. "Scoot over," I said, and I lay down next to her. She was having a hard time saying goodbye to her room, to her memories, to her childhood. A lot is staying here in her room, and I promised her it would all stay the same, to which she replied, "But I won't be here." So much of her is in that room, and she loves that room. It was last summer that Aiden and I repainted it to surprise her, remember that? Oh, how the year flew by. Eventually, she was ready, and we headed out to the car, which Aiden had packed up the night before.
She didn't want to go. Yes, she knew it was right, but she's like me: sentimental and emotional. She wanted to stay in the safety and familiarity of home. It was so hard to be strong for her since my heart wanted that too, but we took turns being strong for each other.
We first stopped in town for a pedicure. A last little treat for my girl. Not that we talked all that much. We were both feeling so sad.
But Lyndsay wanted her toes to match her dorm. I'll miss those feet!
I drove most of the time, but Lyns did give me a little break. I fell asleep for a tiny bit and when I woke up, she confessed that she thought about turning the car around and heading back home.
When I saw the "Welcome to Utah!" sign, my eyes filled with tears. But we stopped in St. George with Amber. A baby step into Utah. Some moral support from one of my favorite people, who is getting ready to send her daughter off to BYU in Idaho in a few weeks. And, who is handling it a lot better than I am. Here is Lyndsay talking to Aiden and Conor on FaceTime. We'll be using this app a lot in the coming months and years.
My favorite homegirl.
Lyns and I wore our matching pajamas that we got on our trip to Las Vegas this summer.
In the morning, we headed up north. We stayed with my cute friend, Kelli, who is now married and has the sweetest little guy of her own. Kelli was one of my Laurels when I lived in Show Low and we spent a lot of time together, especially after her mom passed away when she was Lyndsay's age. But she was also my babysitter when she was younger and she's known Lyndsay since she was 3. In fact, I still have the pasta necklace that Lyndsay made for me one night when Kelli was babysitting her and Dylan.
Here is Daxtyn, one of the cutest, most joyful babies I've ever seen. What a love!
It was so good to see Kelli again. She did my hair for my wedding to Adam, and she came to visit when Conor was a baby, but it had been years! I love this girl. We had a fun time singing our Moulin Rouge songs together like we used to way back when, and remembering our memories from when she and I took a trip to Vegas together for her 18th (and my 30th) birthday. Holy cow.
Being with her was a sweet diversion. And Kelli being there so close to my girl is a huge comfort to me. In fact, all of Lyndsay's stuff is stored in Kelli's car right now and Kelli will be the one to go up to campus on Saturday evening and help Lyns move into her fall dorm. (She is in a temporary dorm for Thurs-Fri.) I love the way God takes care of us through good friends along our way.
The day we got to Kelli's, Lyndsay and I headed down to campus to get a feel for things and to start learning our way around. I'll post that part later. And then we spent our last night together at Kelli's house.